Compost part 2

I have so many things I can write a story about that it was difficult to choose one. However, since it is quite a while since I wrote something about my internship I will write about that again. In my story ‘compost’ I wrote about the fact that the temperature in the compost heaps was a little bit too low. Very sadly it still is the case that the temperatures didn’t get higher than 50oC. This could have different causes. I think the main cause is that ratio of the type of ingredients we used is not completely right.

That temperatures didn’t get so high is for two things a major disadvantage. The first thing is that it will take longer for the compost to be ready, since the composting conditions are not optimal. The second thing is that potential pathogens probably have not been killed. Especially the fact that the process is going a bit slowly could be a problem for my project since in October the experiments with the medicinal plants have to start because I need at least sixty days for that. This could thus mean that we have to grow the plants with compost you can buy in stores. It would be a pity if we have to do that, but it is of course always possible that experiments do not completely go as planned.

Luckily there are also some compost heaps that are doing very well. As you could have read in my introduction I also work in schools and there the heaps are actually doing very well. Within five days the temperatures have risen till 51 0C. This is not 60-70 oC yet, but it looks very promising. The picture shows you a little bit of one of the good heaps. You can see that there are some children from the school ’21 de Marzo’ in action: they make a compost heap (already one and a half week ago). The children had to bring their own materials (fruit and vegetable wastes, soil, leaves, rests of plants) to the school for the compost heap and then, when they brought everything in the school, all the ingredients were put together in one heap. Now the heaps are ready I go twice a week to the schools to help them with turning the heaps and measuring the temperature. Until now I have compost heaps in two schools, but within two weeks there will also be a third school and maybe a fourth school and that is of course very good news that there are enough schools prepared to participate!